Thursday, January 7, 2010

NEWS RELEASE - Update on National Tip411 Anonymous Text Program

NEWS RELEASE
City of Takoma Park Police Department
• 7500 Maple Avenue • Takoma Park, Md 20912

For more information contact:
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Catherine Plevy, 301/891.7142 or 240/338.2901

January 7, 2010 (11:12 a.m.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In October 2009, the City of Takoma Park Police Department added a new dimension to “eyes and ears” on the street to help create a safer community. The police launched tip411, an internet based tool that enables the public to text message an anonymous tip to police, and lets the police respond back creating a two-way anonymous “chat.”

Since the implementation of this program, there have been two arrests as a direct result of tips from the citizens/community. Please continue to use this tool because it does make a difference!

Reserved exclusively for Public Safety purposes, and powered by CitizenObserver, a St. Paul, Minnesota company, tip411 puts a powerful new crime fighting tool into the hands of our community for all ages and demographics.

“We’re proud to be a part of a national program that agencies in over 27 states are currently launching. This new capability will help our citizens play an active role in keeping neighborhoods and schools safer, it will engage younger folks in the process, and it will save our agency time and resources.”

Anyone with a cell phone can now send an anonymous tip to the Takoma Park Police Department by typing in the number 847411 and typing the word TPPDTIP before the message. **Please do not try to type in TIP411 as opposed to 847411 on your cell phone because the letters do not correspond to the numbers as on your land line phone.**

Its 100% anonymous. CitizenObserver’s technology removes all identifying information before the Police Department sees it so there’s no way to identify the sender.

This tip line should only be used for non-emergency tips. Texting to tip411 is not an alternative to calling 911. In an emergency, call 911.

According to Chief Ronald A. Ricucci, this capability is a new paradigm for creating safer communities – especially in reaching out to a younger age demographic.

“When someone feels afraid to come forward, or simply feels like that they don’t want to get involved – this can be a great way to pass information on without fear of retribution.”

CitizenObserver, founded in 2000, provides web based alerting tools to law enforcement, education and public safety agencies in over 40 states.

**Standard message charges apply through your carrier contract rate for text messages.**